Spending 'me time' may reduce depression, anxiety
New York: People who spend some time only with themselves may easily reduce their stress level and lower the risk of depression and anxiety by being creative, said researchers.
Some solitude is not bad for healing psychological health, but can rather improve the functioning the brain by fostering creativity, said researchers.
Creativity reduces stress by helping us reach a flow state, in which the brain works at optimal efficiency, in order to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates emotional responses that further rewards us for both creating and solving problems in the process, they said.
On the other hand, social interaction plays a central role in both mental and physical health, but a room full of people is not the most conducive environment to creative activities, the researchers noted.
"When people think about the costs associated with social withdrawal, often times they adopt a developmental perspective," said Julie Bowker, Professor at the University of Buffalo in the US.
"Shy and avoidant individuals may be unable to use their solitude time happily and productively, maybe because they are distracted by their negative cognitions and fears."
The researchers examined 300 people, who were in a habit of spending time in solitude, and asked them questions related to their behaviour.
The results showed that those who felt timid or fearful around other people tended to make less productive use of their alone time, while the others preferred to be alone because it gave them an opportunity to work on creative pursuits.
Researchers also noted that the stress reduction has been proven to translate into better heart health and a reduced risk in dementia, at the same time.